How To Lock Your Mac Like in Windows

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It was in class when I realised that I need to lock my Mac when I had to go to the bathroom, but couldn’t because I didn’t know how to. I didn’t mean a physical lock, but locking my system from other people. Windows has a function that you could just hit Windows Key + L, and your system would be locked, meaning you’d have to enter a password before you can use your computer.

So I poked around, and found out that you could configure your Mac to ask for a password when woken from sleep or the screen saver. To do so, go to System Preferences >> Security, and check the box for “Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver”.

However, I didn’t like this method because of the lack of control, and I didn’t want to enter a password every time I woke my Mac up from sleep. So I went looking around for another method to lock the Mac, and found that you could enable “Fast user switching” in System Preferences >> Accounts >> Login Options

mac enable fast user switching

This will place your user name in the menu bar at the top of the screen, which I thought was pretty neat. By clicking on your name, you can choose the “Login Window” option and you’ll be shown a login screen. Now your Mac is effectively locked!

fast user switching mac screenshot

This method is great because all your stuff is left as it is – open files, current working documents, everything.

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About the author

Alvin Poh

I've over 17 years of entrepreneurship experience, having built a tech company to be the top in the country, which was subsequently acquired for an 8-figure sum. As CEO, I led the company through robust growth to 150 employees across 4 countries. After the acquisition, I embraced minimalism, sold off my personal possessions, and started living around the world.

Read more about my story here.

6 comments

  • You can also launch Keychain Access, go to its Preferences, and enable Show Status in Menu Bar. That will give you an icon you can click on to lock the screen. I guess it’s about the same number of clicks as your method, but hey it’s one other way. 🙂

  • Hey nice tip ! For myself I’m using Hot corners to activate the screen saver when I leave my mac .. so the hot corners will cause it to activate the screen saver and I enabled the “require password to wake computer from screen saver”, effectively locking the computer when I’m away.

    Maybe I’ll try your method too !

    • I actually tried that before, but do you find yourself hitting the corners accidentally too much? That was my only gripe with that method, so I wanted another way :S

By Alvin Poh

About Author

I've over 17 years of entrepreneurship experience, having built a tech company to be the top in the country, which was subsequently acquired for an 8-figure sum. As CEO, I led the company through robust growth to 150 employees across 4 countries. After the acquisition, I embraced minimalism, sold off my personal possessions, and started living around the world.

Read more about my story here.